Welbeck at the back? Emery impressed by Danny's versatility

Ross Houston
August 13, 2018

New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery began life at the Emirates Stadium with defeat as Manchester City started their Premier League title defence with a well-deserved victory.

On the opposite flank, City's record buy Riyad Mahrez is likely to make his debut in the league as a Sky Blue.

"We played a high level considering the lack of physical condition for numerous players who arrived back late after the World Cup".

Ainsley Maitland-Niles also starts at left-back in the absence of Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac, despite reports that Danny Welbeck could play there. "Like inserting Mendy into the group", Guardiola reflected after the match. "But he knows we like him and want him a lot". "In the second half we managed to force them to make some mistakes with their build-up and we had some opportunities to counter-attack".

Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City's Premier League rivals that his side will only "get better and better" as the season goes on.

New Arsenal goalkeeper, Bernd Leno could get the nod over Petr Cech for Arsenal's opener against Manchester City. "They will show me if they are hungry here - on the green colour".

"I want to thank his mum and dad for giving him such a special body shape", Guardiola joked after the final whistle.

"(We will be) helping with his quality and also getting better with his quality and his data in this year. "It's our first game together like that with the new manager, a new way of playing and I think it's going to help us to grow".

Cech made several saves to keep Arsenal in the game but also seemed to struggle a bit when playing with his feet, almost scoring an own goal in the first half when he mishit a back pass from Guendouzi. When you play against a team with such quality and the confidence of being champions from the last season it was always going to be hard.

Petr Cech, starting in goal ahead of new signing Brend Leno, was called into early action twice when he was forced to deal with a risky Kyle Walker cross before he blocked a powerful Raheem Sterling shot at the near post.

This was a reminder that last season, in points terms, Arsenal finished closer to bottom than top, and that Emery's job in transforming Arsenal's tactical and technical approach is very much a long-term project. This wasn't their greatest ever performance, but the fact they were so comfortable against a side that would realistically be wanting to challenge them, is paramount of just how good this Manchester City team is. Today we watched and saw we have to continue working.

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